Terror Groups Primed to Benefit From Afghan Refugee Crisis

The Taliban and other terrorist organizations are primed to radicalize recruits amid a refugee crisis caused by President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Great Britain’s defense secretary said.

“It’s pretty straightforward: Failed states lead to an explosion of poverty and usually an explosion of extremism or security challenges,” British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told BBC radio.

“Al-Qaida is potentially going to look on this as an opportunity. We will have to gear up, tool up.”

Calling the withdrawal “a rotten deal,” Wallace told the BBC the removal of U.S. troops will “inspire other terrorists” in various other conflicts, the Washington Examiner reported Friday.

Sources and analysts believe terrorist groups will be aided by refugees fleeing Afghanistan and trying to make a new life elsewhere.

“The natural outflow [route] would be Pakistan and Iran,” an Indo-Pacific intelligence official told the Examiner.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has discussed the Afghan refugee crisis with newly elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the Examiner said.

“In the regional context, the PM expressed concern at the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, and cautioned that the latest developments could lead to serious repercussions for both Pakistan and Iran, resulting in an influx of refugees towards the bordering areas of the two countries,” a Pakistani summary of the call said, the Examiner reported.

Pakistani National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf last month told Voice of America “we are not in a position to accept any more refugees.”

Pakistani officials say that approximately “1.4 million registered Afghans” reside in Pakistan, but that figure increases to nearly 3 million when unregistered refugees are taken into account.

Also, Pakistan’s leaders have celebrated the Taliban’s victory.

“What is happening in Afghanistan now, they have broken the shackles of slavery,” Khan said this week.

Iran is home to nearly 800,000 Afghan refugees, along with 2.6 million more Afghans in the country, legally and illegally, according to the U.N.’s refugee agency.

Many Afghans in Iran are Shia, giving them a cultural and religious affinity for Iran. Most other Afghans are Sunni Muslims

Some Iranian Afghan refugees have formed a militia known as the Fatemiyoun Brigade, which has been deployed to Syria in recent years to support Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

“Iran has long used and abused Afghan refugees on its soil,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow Behnam Ben Taleblu told the Examiner.

“It will be challenging for some of the Fatemiyoun figures to be trying to take over towns and Persianize and sectarianize eastern Syria while their towns [in Afghanistan] have fallen to the Sunni Taliban However, Iran could use the specter of a Sunni ascendancy in Afghanistan to try to funnel sources back into Afghanistan and present themselves, present the Fatemiyoun, as the defenders of ‘diversity,’ in Afghanistan.””

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